15:18 GMT15 April 2021
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    Paula White is an American televangelist who was appointed by former US President Donald Trump to serve as an adviser to his administration’s evangelical advisory board. Despite the post and preacher role, White, who was the first woman to deliver a presidential invocation, isn’t without her own controversial troubles.

    Ivanka Trump, the second-eldest child of the former commander-in-chief, was recently spotted in Florida making her very first public appearance since departing the White House grounds earlier this year.

    Citing sources familiar with the appearance, Fox News reported Trump attended an event on Tuesday to help deliver boxes of food in Apopka, Florida, that were assembled as part of the “Farmers to Families” program launched by her father.

    The food program was implemented in April 2020 under the Trump administration’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program that helped farmers and Americans struggling to make end’s meet amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

    At the time, the program itself made headline news after many of the packages delivered by vendors included a personalized letter from the one-time president in both English and Spanish that underscored that the goods were made possible at his direction. The correspondence raised both legal and ethical questions.

    During the distribution event, Trump helped to deliver some 1,300 boxes, some of which were sent to the homes of local residents who were unable to retrieve the assistance in person. Trump also helped disperse aid to The Lifeboat Project, a local shelter for survivors of human trafficking.

    In a post shared on Instagram, the shelter issued a statement that indicated Tuesday proved to be a “beautiful day to put politics aside … and let faith and truth be our topic of connection.” 

    “We had the opportunity to fill the room with global leaders and have a conversation about our growing world model,” the post read. “We thank all levels of government, community leaders, and our partnered agencies that made today happen.”

    “It was the beginning of acknowledging truth and showing that faith always overcomes fear,” it added.

    The post also included photos of Trump meeting with officials of the shelter. However, among the group of community leaders was none other than Paula White, who noted in her own respective social media post that boxes were distributed to over 4,000 families during the day’s festivities.

    Over the years, White has raised eyebrows over a variety of remarks, many of which ranged between anti-abortion and anti-LGBTQ, as she spread a brand of Christianity often referred to as “prosperity theology.” The belief is that God rewards faith with financial blessings.

    However, White’s beliefs turned heads in 2018 when she claimed that although Jesus was a refugee, he was “not illegal.” She went on to say that “if he had broken the law, then he would have been sinful and he would not have been our messiah.”

    The remarks came as the spotlight fell on the booming immigration crisis at the US-Mexico border, and as the Trump administration faced backlash over its family separation policy. To date, several hundred children have yet to be reunited with their family.

    At one point, White’s outlandish claims were blasted in 2016 by Russell Moore, the president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. Moore called White a “charlatan,” adding that she was “recognized as a heretic by every orthodox Christian, of whatever tribe.”

    Three years after Moore’s critiques, Richard Painter, who served as the chief ethics lawyer for former US President George W. Bush, took his own shot by accusing White of running a “Ponzi scheme” through her prosperity gospel teachings. In a 2019 tweet, Painter stated that White tested the “boundaries between ‘religious freedom’ and criminal mail fraud and wire fraud.”

    “‘Send me money and God will make you rich,’” he wrote. “Now she uses her White House position to make her sales pitch.”

    White has been largely criticized for trying to sell religious items to followers with the promise that they will be rewarded either spiritually or materially. In early 2018, White even called on her supporters to send their first paychecks of the year to support her ministry, warning that those who did not submit would face “consequences” from God.


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